Wollongong clubs' push to reduce men's cancer risk

Sun safety: Wollongong Whales members Shayne Howle and Kevin Anger; Cancer Council NSW's Emma Swords and Greg Kerr from Wollongong Golf Club have joined forces for a cancer prevention campaign. Picture: Robert Peet

Sun safety: Wollongong Whales members Shayne Howle and Kevin Anger; Cancer Council NSW's Emma Swords and Greg Kerr from Wollongong Golf Club have joined forces for a cancer prevention campaign. Picture: Robert Peet

Wollongong Whales winter swimming club has joined forces with Wollongong Golf Club to drive home an important safety message.

A donation by the Whales is helping NSW Cancer Council deliver the Improve Your Long Game program at the golf club for the second year.

Aimed at men 40 years and over, the program provides free sunscreen for golfers as well as sun safety messages dotted around the course.

It’s a message that the swim club members will also take on board, as they prepare for the launch of their winter swim season this Sunday.

‘’Each week throughout the season members donate money which goes towards important Cancer Council prevention programs, like Improve Your Long Game,’’ Whales captain Shayne Howle said.

‘’It’s a way of showing our support for men’s health and is also a reminder for our own members that while the sun’s rays are not as strong in winter, it’s still important to wear sunscreen.’’

Cancer Council NSW Illawarra spokeswoman Emma Swords said such prevention programs were vital, with two in three Australian men diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70.

‘’Men spend a lot of time outdoors – for work and for leisure activities like golf and swimming – putting them at a high risk of sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer,’’ Ms Swords said.

‘’We know that men over the age of 40 are more than one-and-a-half times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma, and more than twice as likely to die from it, compared to women of a similar age.

‘’The contribution from Wollongong Whales is fantastic and their support ensures locally delivered prevention programs continue to run and expand in the future.’’

Ms Swords said the golf program, in its second year at the Wollongong club, was proving successful with more golfers using, and reapplying, sunscreen during their games.

The program is now run at some 80 clubs across NSW.

‘’There’s minimal shade available for golfers so it’s about encouraging them to adopt a range of sun protection measures,’’ she said. ‘’It’s about making it a habit.’’

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